Review: Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca

last year's mistake

Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Synopsis: Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

My Review:

When it comes to this book, I’m trying my hardest to be fair and give it three stars.  It just wasn’t what I hoped it was going to be.  It’s rare for me to find a book where I didn’t get any sort of attachment to any of the characters, but I just couldn’t connect with any of them in this book.  I found the main character, Kelsey, to be a somewhat whiny brat that I just wanted to slap several times into this book and tell her to stop wasting time and just choose the guy she wants.  And apparently she thought cheating on her current boyfriend, Ryan, was just fine, too.  I mean, she kisses an old flame, and then goes back to her current boyfriend’s house and sleeps in bed with him.  …I don’t even have anything else to add to this, nor do I need to.  She practically admits to her old flame that the reason she didn’t want to try things out with him was because she wasn’t sure if it would work out and she essentially wanted to have a fallback so she didn’t have to be alone.

…How is this okay?

Anyway, the writing wasn’t bad or anything, and the story itself was sort of interesting.  I really enjoyed the alternating before and after chapters, because I felt like I was reading two different stories in a way.  The Kelsey from the before chapters was so different from the Kelsey in the after chapters, but David kind of seemed to stay the same throughout the entire book.  I just felt like there was no character development there with him, and that kind of irritated me, too.

I’m still giving this one three stars because the story itself was pretty good, as was the writing I just wish there was a little more character development (and a little less cheating) in this one.  However, don’t let the problems that I had with this book put you off from picking up a copy and giving it a shot.  It would probably make a really great beach read!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Day and Night Book Tag!

This is the first time I’ve ever done one of these, and I’m excited for it!

This was created by Readigans. Skylee @ thenightgirl tagged me for this a few days ago and I’ve been looking forward to it!

Here we go!

D: Do you read more in the morning or at night?

My kids tend to be late sleepers, so I sleep pretty late sometimes, too (lucky me, haha).  So I tend to do most of my reading at night, either while the kids are in bed and fast asleep, playing nicely (ha, like that happens), or while I’m doing other random stuff, like making dinner.

A: Are there any books that changed the way you thought about things?

There are several books that have changed the the way that I’ve thought about things…but the one that comes to mind that really affected me and the way I think about things is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  It made me appreciate the people that I have in my life, and life in general, a lot more since I’ve read it.

Y: YA or not?

Definitely!  I love YA.  It’s actually kind of rare that I read something that isn’t YA these days.

A: Are there any characters you honestly believe to be real?

Harry Potter!

N: Nobody borrows my books or I don’t mind lending them out?

I don’t really have any friends who would borrow books (I don’t really have friends who read a lot).

D: Do you ever smell your books?

Haha, to quote Skylee @ thenightgirl: “The real question here is: how do you not smell a book? like c’mon.”

N: Not everyone likes books, is this a positive or a negative?

Negative.  Books are such a wonderful way to spark imagination and actually have to think, instead of just sitting in front of a TV and “waiting for the movie to come out.”  I couldn’t imagine not liking books.

I: I keep my books in the best condition or maybe not? Which are you?

Most of the books I own are e-books, but the actual physical books I have I try to keep as pristine as possible.

G: Gosh I have too many books! True or False?

False.  You can never have enough books!

H: Have you ever spilled or stained your books before with something, and if so how?

It’s usually my kids who spill stuff or wipe stuff on my books.  You name it, they’ve dumped/spilled/wiped it there.

T: Toned or untoned while reading? or in other words… Do you read and workout at the same time?

I’ve read while working out before.  Sometimes it helps the time go faster.

That is it for The Day and Night Tag. It was fun =]

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

emmy and oliver

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

My Review:


I have read a lot of young adult romance-type books that made me roll my eyes and skip over half of the book because it was just so cheesy and terrible that I couldn’t even bear to read it.  I have read a lot of young adult coming-of-age books that had characters that were typical, one dimensional, and/or absolutely annoying, and it made the book a chore to read.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway isn’t either of those things.

Emmy & Oliver is a fantastic book that made me realize why I fell in love with young adult fiction in the first place.

The story is so real and believable.  The characters are likeable, and the writing feels like it’s drawing you into the story and creating a place for you right alongside the rest of them.  I felt like not only was I reading the book, but like I was an actual character in the book, too.  I felt all kinds of emotions…happiness, excitement, sadness, anger, heartbreak…you name it, and I felt it while reading this book.  I can’t remember the last time a book made me feel like this.

Emmy is so thankful when she finds out that Oliver has been found and is returning home, but at the same time, she doesn’t really know how to act around him, or how to treat him.  She wants things to back to normal for the two of them (well, for her friends Caro and Drew, too…who used to be good friends with Oliver before the kidnapping as well), but isn’t sure that’s possible.  She has her own life now, and isn’t sure that Oliver will have any interest in fitting in with it.  She surfs.  She hangs out with her friends.  She applies to a college that she doubts her parents will let her go to (because they’re incredibly overprotective since Oliver was kidnapped ten years ago).  But she tries to make Oliver feel at home again, and although he is angry and confused, the two of them try and work through Oliver’s feelings and form a friendship all over again.

I have never wanted a fictional couple to be together like I was hoping for the best for Emmy and Oliver.  I felt attached to them while reading this book.

There are small chapters every here and there that have to do with Emmy and Oliver during their childhood together.  These range from birthday parties, to being at the park together, and they are absolutely adorable.  They really do add something different to the novel that give you an insight into the type of close friendship the two of them had before Oliver’s father kidnapped him.  As Emmy and Oliver work on rekindling their friendship (and becoming something more), looking back on these moments from their childhoods is sweet and meaningful.

The obstacles that Oliver faces after coming back to California and trying to fit back into a normal life in high school are heartbreaking, especially when he feels left out and like he no longer is a part of the group of friends that he used to be close with when he was younger.

I truly can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about this book.  It is young adult fiction at its finest, and definitely deserves a spot on your shelf if you’re into young adult books.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

the leveller

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

My Review:

This book is fun.

I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, sat down, and said that.  But as soon as I finished it, it’s exactly how I summed this book up.

It felt like a vacation from a lot of other books I’ve been reading lately.

The Leveller didn’t have a deep plot line, complex characters, or ridiculous twists that keep you guessing the entire way through.  It’s not so science fiction-y that you need time to digest what you’re reading before you continue, and it definitely seems somewhat juvenile in some places.  I’ll admit it, I normally hate that kind of thing, and typically lose count of the amount of eye rolls I do before tossing the book aside and starting a new one, but man, this was just…fantastic.

It starts off with Nixy Bauer, who has a job bringing kids back from the virtual reality world, the MEEP, when they have spent more than their allotted time there and don’t come back on their own.  She is paid for her services, and her motto is “Nixy Bauer, home in an hour” (like I said, it’s juvenile in some spots, but bear with it, because the book is amazing).  Her friends, Moose and Chang, spend their time creating hacks that allow kids to do things in this virtual reality world that aren’t authorized – such as staying in the world longer than the four hours they’re permitted.  So she goes into the various worlds, brings the kids out, and gets paid.  It’s a pretty cool job, if you ask me.

Her parents both work for the MEEP creator, and when his son goes missing inside the virtual reality world, and none of the people he has hired to get him back out are able to help, he comes to Nixy.  While Nixy isn’t too keen on the idea at first, she eventually agrees to it, and she goes into the virtual reality world of Wyn to try and bring him back out.

Only after making it past all the rooms that hold terrifying things (think sharks, ghosts, etc.), and the maze that will lead her to Wyn, she finds herself trapped in this world as well, and the two of them have to work together to get out.

Of course you’ll find the typical romance (I mean, it’s expected, and does not disappoint.  At least there’s no love triangle, so there’s that), but it’s actually kind of cute…the kind of cute that makes you go “Aweeee” and keep reading to see what happens between them.

The characters aren’t exactly complex, but they’re pretty well developed in my opinion, and I couldn’t help but smile at some of the things that Nixy says and does.  It’s just cute.  The way she swears in other languages instead of English is kind of amusing.

It seems like this book is going to be the first book in a new series, so I’m really excited to see where the author goes with this.  The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, so I’m wondering if the same characters will be in the next one, and it will continue the story where it left off, or if it will be a completely different story than Nixy and Wyn.  I’m hoping it continues the story.  In either case, I’ll be reading this book at least a few more times!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.